All Bands on Deck: Meet Outside the Frame

Photo courtesy of Jack Furgerson
“All Bands on Deck” is a regular column by Opinion Editor Amanda Niess.

Welcome to the new age of industrial disco. A band of three individuals in San Diego, California, are on the rise as they continue to make, release and perform their music. Their newfound sound encapsulates the identity they strive for as a band.

Meet Outside the Frame.

Senior music major Nate Williams, senior management major Max Conahey and senior music major Daniel Jaime all attend San Diego State University (SDSU), and continue to release new music, hoping to make it big in the world of rock.

The band’s name, Outside the Frame, not only stems from a famous lyric in a Queens of the Stone Age song, but it also represents the band’s background and what they stand for.

“We feel it represents us in a way that we are outside the box-type thinkers as well as musicians,” Conahey said. “We like stuff that’s not as mainstream in the grand scheme of rock music.”

Guitarist Max Conahey and bassist Nate Williams met in middle school in California. They picked up some instruments to mess around with and eventually realized that they wanted to showcase their talents to their friends and family. From there, Outside the Frame was born.

“The band really took shape the second half of junior year, and then senior year, we finally solidified Outside the Frame as the identity under which we started writing music,” Williams said. “We finally put stuff out around senior year and have been doing it from there.”

Outside the Frame has taken a liking to various bands of various genres to inspire their work. For Williams, Nine Inch Nails and Boston Manor have been huge influences for his music production. For Conahey, he has found sparks of influence in some of Billie Eilish’s recent works. 

[Photo of Outside the Frame band members: Max Conahey, Nate Williams and Daniel Jaime]
Photo courtesy of Jack Furgerson

“I respect [Eilish] as a musician so I definitely take inspiration from the look and feel of her entire portfolio, especially in her most recent album [Happier Than Ever],” Conahey said.

For any musical artist, live music performances hit an all-time low during the COVID-19 pandemic. For Outside the Frame, this meant time to recuperate, find a new sound and write new music. All three members are full-time students at San Diego State University who are simultaneously juggling jobs, band practice and academics.

“There is a problem that every band, especially in college has — what do we need to do to get to the next point, and how much of that are we actually able to accomplish with our full plate of being full time college students, pursuing careers outside the band and managing our time?” Williams said. 

For the past three years, Outside the Frame has taken a direct route in producing music, releasing sounds that follow their influences. This is all about to change. With the variety in influences that the band looks up to, their direction and sound is beginning to change drastically.

Their new song “Carousel” is an example of this. 

“‘Carousel’ is nothing like any of our old stuff, even though It still has the rock feel,” Conahey said. “We have come to a consensus that we’re going to be making more pop inspired dance music mixed with darker rock tones that we all have our roots from, and it’s a fusion that I coined as industrial disco, but we’ll see how that plays out.”

Williams has gained experience with music composition from high school and college which has aided the band in their drive for a new sound. There is more precision that goes into their music, now that they have a planned direction of their new works. 

“I’d say our new sound is a lot more calculated and precise,” Williams said. “There’s a lot more thought going into each individual piece, kind of seeing what fits, where before it was pretty straightforward with instrumentation. There wasn’t any really synthesizers or anything but now we’re bringing in more sounds that are outside of the box for a rock band.”

The rewards post-pandemic greatly outweighed the challenges for this musical trio. As aspiring musicians in the rock music world, it is highly rewarding to become recognized by fans and other bands, which is what Outside the Frame has experienced post pandemic. 

“I had a pretty cool experience at our last show where these two fans stopped me outside and expressed their admiration for our music, and I had no idea who they were,” Conahey said. “It’s cool to see genuine grassroots of people who are just fans of us and our music. It’s validating for sure.” 

Playing in front of their friends and family is one thing, but for this youthful band, getting recognized by strangers in the street makes the journey that much more rewarding. 

“Getting to play to people who actually enjoy our stuff, whether they’ve heard us before, or it’s the first time that they’re seeing us is the thing that really makes it worth it,” Williams said.

Their new single “Carousel” will be available on Aug. 20 on all music streaming platforms. Make sure to check out their social media for more updates on the band’s new releases this year.

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